I recently read a book called “Keep Going” by Austin Kleon–a fun little jaunt through the common struggles artists face. Being an artist (or aspiring musician) is very much like a long-term relationship; there are ups and downs, high and low arcs, times of discovery and joy, and times when it seems like nothing is new or will ever change. Despite the somewhat extreme nature of it all, I believe discovering and cultivating a healthy relationship with the art inside yourself can be one of the best things you do; it can be a truly sustainable, constant, grounding relationship in an otherwise crazy, misguiding world.
“Keep Going” came to mind because of a more resonant story, one have held in memory from an unknown source:
Being an artist or musician, you are like a shopkeeper. Inspiration is out there somewhere–a generous customer–just waiting to visit you. Some days inspiration might stop by and browse around your store, buying a small item or two. Other days it might buy the entire store. Still, other days it might not show up at all. As a shopkeeper, the only way to meet inspiration is to provide a means for it to visit, which means rain or shine, you gotta open that shop.
What is your “shop”? For me, it’s the guitar. So practice, and regularly. Create a practice routine. Make a framework that puts you in a place of forward motion. I work with every student in this regard to figure out what seems to be the best balance of work and play, of the quantifiable and technical, and of exercises designed to build the inner musician. Go read “Keep Going” as well.
You can reach me in the real world here.